Bob Rae: Cleveland Indians, Edmonton Eskimos both need name changes

WATCH ABOVE: Bob Rae says Cleveland Indians name ‘seen as insulting’

Former Liberal Leader Bob Rae says there shouldn’t be a debate about it, the Cleveland Indians – and any other team with an offensive name including the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos – should change it.

“We need to come to grips with this. Having the face of a grinning indigenous person, supposed to be Chief Wahoo, there is no way that can’t be seen as insulting,” Rae told Global News. “If you did it to any other group of Canadians, Chinese-Canadians, Filipinos —  you would say, ‘wow, is that ever insulting.'”

On Tuesday, Blue Jays radio broadcaster Jerry Howarth re-iterated his long-standing personal ban on using the Cleveland team’s full name, noting that he would only refer to the team as “Cleveland” during the American League Championship Series.

Since leaving politics, Rae has been focused on First Nation’s issues. The former politician says some Canadian teams should consider changing their team name as well.

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“If you do it for the Indians you have to do it for the Eskimos,” Bob Rae said. “You have to do it systematically, you’ve got to look at wherever you have these negative stereotypes, you name them and say this is why that is offensive.

“And if it means a whole bunch of sports teams have to change their names, too bad.  They do, they should.  And we should call them on it..”

“My daughter’s high school got rid of an indigenous acronym 25 years ago, they just did it,” he explained. “They said enough, we’re not doing this anymore.  I don’t know why it has to be such a big deal.  It simply shouldn’t exist and its time that we moved on.”